Darick Robertson draws the helmet by Bob Patterson
Darick Robinson draws the helmet in Berkeley
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made a decision because, they asserted, prejudice in the voter rights case was an outmoded consideration from the past, then the next day they struck a blow to protect gays from marriage discrimination. Due to the fact that irony does not work well on the Internets, the World's Laziest Journalist was on the verge of pulling the old "best of" dodge and skipping the weekend roundup column for the last full week in June of 2013. One day the SCOTUS five are saying that racial prejudice is extinct in the USA then the next day a reconfigured majority of five says that since the work of eliminating discrimination against gays is still far from the finish line, they had to lend a helping hand. Which is it? Is bigotry dead or not?
Will the late night comedian/political commentators try to get laughs by saying that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity when they did not get involved this week with the furor over Paula Deen's use of the N-word?
Paula Deen suggested that she needed to be executed by a crowd of stone throwers and that got us to thinking that perhaps President Obama could offer patriotic Americans from the Democratic and Republican parties a chance to buy a spot on the firing squad that might be needed some day to deliver a death sentence to Edward Snowden.
That, in turn, brings up this question: If Snowden is stuck in an area that is not a part of Russia, why doesn't the United States' State Department send someone from the American Embassy in Moscow to meet with the suspect, shoot him, and then use diplomatic immunity to walk away from the event? Would that be so very different (and less messy) than using a drone strike to "rub out" the fugitive from justice?
We had hoped to write a sensational column, for this week, about the decline of journalism in America and maybe link the work of real journalists from the past such as Ernie Pyle and Hunter S. Thompson to the comic book hero, Spider Jerusalem, who is a popular and highly paid columnist who exposes political corruption and scandal.
Has the story arc for Journalism in America gone from Edward R. Murrow's "This is London calling" to a comic book hero with weird glasses in less that 75 years?
The World's Laziest Journalist had assumed that conservative animosity would trump the Fourteenth Amendment's "equal protection" clause and deliver a ruling that rendered marriage rights for gays as being unconstitutional. We were wrong. It was just like the time we picked Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby. We were wrong then, too. Twice in one lifetime? We won't let it happen again!
A friend in the Eastern Time Zone called right after the decision was announced and said that the New York Time confirmed my erroneous prediction. We were listening to Armstrong and Getty and challenged the accuracy of the headline on the Internets. Our friend read more and amended her assessment because it seems that the great gray lady (as the famous newspaper is called in the gin mills that cater to journalists) had posted a bad ("Dewey wins!") headline.
Randi Rhodes said that both landmark decisions, when considered together, indicated that the cause of States' Rights had been bolstered by the week's history and that continued political stalemate had been assured by the decisions.
Speaking of the status of Journalism in the USA, we had recently noted that some citizen journalists were advocating the use of a consortium approach to investigative journalism. Since we have monitored the news media coverage of events in the Los Angeles area concerning the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and their administration of the Marina del Rey area, we are aware that the concept of investigative journalism is a complex and time consuming way to fight for gaining access to information that is deliberately put out of reach.
A web site that is intended as a central clearing house for altruistic investigative journalism projects was announced recently. There is a tendency among writers to want to jealously guard against the theft of intellectual property but there is also a human tendency to want to participate in a community project that is working towards a large goal that is unavailable to the lone wolf rogue journalist. (Insert nostalgic reference to Sartre, Camus, and Combat newspaper in Occupied Paris here. [Them again?]) We will expand this topic in a subsequent column.
Speaking of lone wolves, citizen journalists, and the Internets, we went to San Francisco on Sunday June 23 to cover the City Lights Bookstore's birthday celebration. We got some OK photos outside the store but our tendency of avoiding claustrophobic situations to work "on spec" caused us to miss the chance to get to the poetry room to get a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti signing books. It was amazing to see how much drawing power a beatnik could still have.
Berkeley is looking to increase tourism and the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio's speech from on top of a police car is rapidly approaching, perhaps the city fathers should consider holding an anniversary event.
The saga of Spider Jerusalem, which is the product of the creative team of writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson, was told in the Transmetropolitan comic book series. It was published in the late nineties and the early Dubya era, and contained a good number of accurate predictions of technological advances and political malfeasance. The comic book columnist hero fits in with our recurring leitmotif of famous journalist, so we made an effort recently to chat with Robertson and get some photos of him doing a drawing of "the helmet," which can be seen as a prediction of Google glasses.
If citizen journalists hope for fun, fame, and fortune, but get aced out of the fame and fortune by the proprietary attitude of the high priced media talent (and their "owners"?), then the Leprechaun attitude will become more prevalent in journalism than Hunter S. Thompson ever imagined.